Summers in Saudi Arabia can be brutal. Temperatures reaching 45°C-50°C (113°F-122°F) are not uncommon. Those who work there suspect that those high temperatures are actually ‘low-balled’ because Saudi law used to prohibit outdoor labor when temperatures exceeded a certain point. If the temperature never rose beyond that point, well, no work was shut down. There were certainly economic reasons to hide the thermometer.

Now, reports Arab News, a new regulation is coming into effect: a ban on all outdoor work during the midday over the summer months, no matter the temperature. The penalties for violating the law seem substantial, so if enforced, it should have a beneficial effect on workers. The article notes that this regulation has been publicized for a year, so there is no reason for companies to not comply. Let’s see how it works out…

Pleasant surprise for laborers:
Working outdoors from noon to 3 p.m. to be banned from July
ARAB NEWS

RIYADH: Deputy Minister of Labor Abdul Wahid Al-Humaid said his ministry is keen to introduce a ban on working outdoors during the midday this summer from July.

“The ministry is going ahead with its earlier decision to prevent companies from making their employees work under the sun from noon to 3 p.m. from the beginning of July till the end of August every year starting 2011,” Al-Humaid said, according to Al-Riyadh newspaper.

Addressing a workshop on “Facilitating implementation of the decision to prevent working under the sun” here on Saturday, the minister said violators risk being fined, shut down or both. “Violators of the directive would be subject to punitive measures as per article 236 of the Labor Law. These include fines ranging between SR3,000 and SR10,000 for each violation, or closure of the firm for a period no more than 30 days or forever. The penalties also include both fines and closure of the firm,” he said.


May:03:2011 - 06:30 | Comments & Trackbacks (4) | Permalink
4 Responses to “Beating the Saudi Summer Heat”
  1. 1
    Swedish Said:
    May:03:2011 - 08:17 

    Good–it seemed in the neighboring gulf states, the temperature nver peaked over ‘break of th day heat’.. My goodness, it got up to 50 C one day…It was so mortally hot that the brass buckle on sandals burned my skin, leaving a large red imprint…Cannot imagine operating in that heat….
    Where I am it is not as hot but humid. Average temp 36c with 90 percent humidity. The natives around here ( the same group that work as migrant workers) sit around a hot room without the optional a/c…
    I feel so bad—I cannot think when I am in a constant sauna—-HOw they do any of this physical activity is beyond me…wait till g=it drops to nice 24c-right?

  2. 2
    Saudi Jawa Said:
    May:03:2011 - 10:34 

    That is indeed a pleasant surprise. Kudos to all who worked to make this law possible.

  3. 3
    Michel Said:
    May:03:2011 - 11:05 

    As you say, John, temperatures rarely went over 50° at least officially; in some areas we know it’s regularly above that ceiling; when I was in Baghdad it reached 52°; I’m glad that some authority had the beautiful idea to prevent workers to be outside in the hottest hours of the hottest days.
    Yet I agree with Swedish that it’s awful to be outside when the temperature is (only) 35° but the humidity very high; and that can happen before July starts !!

  4. 4
    Aunty May Said:
    May:04:2011 - 12:49 

    @Michel

    Was it a beautiful idea or just an idea based on sensibility and sensitivity?

    Late last July before heading to Pakistan the barometer reading of 3 neighbours and mine reached 67c. However, the news that night stated it was 49c. Meanwhile I thought about the team of Indian construction workers over the road, who worked all day, as like every day.

    “How heartless their boss is, how heartless is exploitation, how heartless is the heartless.”

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